Fishos to fight beach 4WD bans
TWEED coast fishermen have called a public meeting to air concerns about what they say are Tweed Shire plans to ban their vehicles from beaches.
The Pottsville Fishing Club has sanctioned the meeting, planned for April 17 at the Pottsville Bowls Club grounds at 3pm, to bring out in the open the council's plans for 4WD beach fishing permits in the future.
Club spokesperson and vice-president of the Tweed Coast Fishing Clubs Association Warren Morgan said invitations would be sent to all Tweed councillors and relevant council staff to attend the meeting to hear fishermen's concerns and discuss the beach permits issue.
Mr Morgan said council sent out letters advising it had decided to review its beach permits policy due to the increasing population in coastal areas and the potential for conflict over beach usage.
But Mr Morgan said his members believed the push was on to entirely ban their vehicles from Tweed beaches, and the pressure was coming from the new residential developments at Casuarina and Salt.
"I suppose they think it should be their private beach and they don't want our ugly 4WDs messing it up," he said.
Mr Morgan said council had not consulted with the fishing groups and had asked for submissions only on the policy review.
"That is why we want an open-air meeting in a public forum with council so these concerns can be addressed fully and openly," Mr Morgan said.
"We find the opportunities to express our views at public access sessions of council are too restrictive and we can't get any straight answers."
Mr Morgan said beach permit holders were only allowed on two Tweed beaches and provided a valuable service while out fishing.
"We act as honorary rangers reporting vehicles driving illegally on the beaches and as a form of security for beachgoers in the more out-of-the-way spots," he said.
"Plus, there is the issue of their own security. Recently, a fisherman was held up at knife point when he got back to his vehicle which was parked in the car park at Black Rock."
Mr Morgan said complaints that beach permit holders destroyed dunal vegetation were just wrong.
"We don't go in the dunes," he said.
"But I can show you where residents of Casuarina have made their own tracks through the dunes."